To be clear, I loved the NBA before I read this book; to learn about George Gervin's selfishness, Bill Walton's dysfunctional body, Elgin Baylor's hangtime, and every other bit of NBA minutia only tripled my love for the NBA. No detail goes uncovered. What stood out to me, in spite of the endless barrage of statistics on every page, was Simmons' emphasis of what statistics can't measure - "The Secret" as he calls it. "The secret of basketball is that it's not about basketball." I appreciated Simmons' devotion to and explanation of the truth that, for the most part, players who sublimate the temptation to pursue statistics and individual glory for the pursuit of the team are most successful in the NBA.
The glaring weakness of this book is Simmons' tendency towards misogynistic, "frat guy" writing. It didn't take long for his references to porn stars, lust, and infidelity to wear thin. The fact that Simmons is a "man's man" has made him beloved and as viewed as "one of us" by many sports fan. However, in the absence ESPN's watchful (read "censoring") eye evident in his regular column, the abundance of testosterone-filled anecdotes was overwhelming. Maybe it's just his act, a way for Simmons to build his island in a sea of sport writers, but I finished the book with two thoughts: "I LOVE the NBA" and "I feel bad for his wife." One more note; it took me a month to finish this book. I would recommend it for any sports fan, but be prepared to devote at least a month to wade through a book of this detail. It's worth it if you ask me.